With a deeply troubling surge in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic across Metro Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver has recommitted to building a more inclusive community for all.
To mark the Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism, Mayor Linda Buchanan proclaimed May 10 as Day of Awareness to End Anti‐Asian Racism in line with Asian Heritage month, named the month of May as the Celebration of Asian Culture within the city, at Monday’s general council meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, Buchanan highlighted that during the pandemic, people of Asian descent, across the region, had been targeted, harassed, and assaulted, adding that many victims had been seniors.
“This behaviour and attitude have no place in our community,” she said. “I know proclamations alone are not enough, and that there is work we must do together as a community to advance equity. I am committed to building a more inclusive and welcoming place for all people. We all have a part to play when it comes to anti-racism.”
She called on the community to start today “by recommitting ourselves to equity and inclusion and to pledge to speak up when we see or hear anti-Asian racism.”
The proclamation highlights the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, nationality or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.
“The City of North Vancouver strives to be a caring, inclusive, safe, livable and just city; and a city that embraces diversity, celebrates culture, fosters belonging and participation and continues to adapt to a changing world,” the proclamation reads.
“Every resident in the City of North Vancouver deserves to enjoy all public spaces in a community free of violence, abuse, discrimination and inequity.”
Buchanan gave special thanks to Coun. Tina Hu, for whom “this issue is very real and very personal,” for helping with the proclamation. She also acknowledged the work being done by the North Shore Immigrant and Inclusion Project, Success Canada, and the Stand with Asians Coalition.
“Your action and advocacy are invaluable,” Buchanan said.
Hu noted there had been more than 1,000 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian racism nationwide since the start of the pandemic, and 44 per cent had happened in B.C.
“It is so disheartening to see these numbers,” she said. “This is not solely a pandemic-related phenomenon. This is systemic racism that we have to address.
“As an Asian Canadian, although I was not born in this beautiful country, but this is my home, I need - we need - many more Canadians to stand with the Asian Canadians to stop the hate to make Canada truly an inclusive country for all.”
She went on to encourage others to “please, speak up when you see racism.”
“Please do not ignore it, when you see racism. We can do better by stopping it altogether," she said. “Let's all stop the hate.”
Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.